Interview With Trained Classical Vocalist Amritha
Amritha is a trained classical vocalist who started learning Indian classical music as a young child and has pursued her love story with music ever since. At the core of her work is the belief that music truly is a pathway to the Soul, to bridge our differences. Amritha’s music fuses her passion for India with her love for old-school jazz and soul while experimenting with music styles from across the world – her genre? Indian//Vintage Soul. Her end goal? To bring the world closer and transcend borders with the soul of music.
Tell us about yourself…
My name is Amritha. I was born in Chennai, grew up in Australia and studies in the US. I am a singer-songwriter and I fuse my South Indian classical roots with my love for soul and jazz to create songs that represent my bicultural identity. I also use my music to comment on the issues closest to my heart – gender equality, representation, and self-love.
How did you get in music? How did you discover that you had a talent for singing?
Even though they had immigrated to Australia, my family loved and celebrated South Indian culture and the arts at home. I used to come home from school to hear Yesudas and MS Subbulakshmi playing on the stereo, or I’d join my Mother and watch 80s Tamil music videos on the television in the evenings. These moments shaped me deeply. I started singing when I was just 4 years old – and have been singing ever since! My Mother taught me Carnatic music, and I then taught myself how to sing Bollywood songs like Alka Yagnik (she’s still one of my favorite singers of all time!). Over time, I discovered soul and jazz and eventually fell in love with trying to merge these two worlds of East and West in my own music.
Who is your inspiration?
There are so many people I truly look up to! But I’m going to say, anyone who puts social change and impact at the center of their workpeople like Jameela Jamil, Janelle Monae, India Arie, Beyonce, Solange Knowles, Sonam Kapoor, etc.
Who are your favorite singers?
I love my 90s Bollywood and Tamil music! So I’m going to say, Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik, and SPB; followed by Sid Sriram, Rajakumari and Shashaa Tirupati more recently. On the Western side, I love Solange Knowles, Norah Jones, Erykah Badu, and India Arie, and I am probably most influenced by their music.
Tell us about your recent projects…
I started writing my first ever original music album around 1.5 years ago – the album is called ‘The Process’ – it explores my experience being a first-generation Indian-Australian woman and my journey to self-love. I’ve just released the first song from the album, called ‘Deserve Me’. I wrote ‘Deserve Me’ basically to be a self-love anthem for women of color/ South Asian girls. We often face so much pressure from both our Asian cultures and communities and also as a person of color in the Western world. These pressures deeply affected my own sense of self-worth growing up – it affected how I felt about my looks, my career choices, my relationship choices, etc. The pressure is real, and we never talk about it. This song is basically celebrating the moment when I decided to say “No” to all the pressure, and confidently follow my own path in life. Some of the lyrics in the song include:
“Lately I’ve been feeling a bit more content within my skin,
And lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m unlearning all the lies that I believed.
Finally looking in the mirror and I don’t feel like I need to change a thing,
Day by day I’m learning that I am enough,
Just the way I am.”
For the music video, we wanted to make it all about representation – we had an all-South Asian team, and the video features over 23 South Asian women of Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Bangladeshi descent, each one of them owning their power on-screen in a way that we’ve never seen before. We hope this song and video inspires South Asian women everywhere to feel amazing about who they are, and feel empowered to make whatever choices they want to make in their lives and be proud of it!
Do you have a mentor?
I have a group of people in my life who guide me for sure – I work with a life coach, I have a group of friends who advise me about life and social media, and I have a vocal coach. I don’t specifically have a mentor – but that’s definitely something I’d love!
Who is your inspiration behind the song?
I’d my inspiration is my younger self. As a little girl and as I grew up, there were so many things that were taught to me about how I should behave, how I should live life, what makes me worthy, etc. Those messages made my journey to self-love so difficult. So my inspiration is other little girls and making sure that they don’t have to go through the same challenges that I did growing up.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I’d love to keep writing music that has a strong social message, and I’d love to be able to contribute my work towards causes and organizations that I’m passionate about, who are really changing things for girls and young women.